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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Jul 2014

Daler Mehndi may get Congress ticket

Atul Mathur, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 23, 2013
First Published: 21:49 IST(23/8/2013) | Last Updated: 01:40 IST(24/8/2013)

‘Bhangra King’ Daler Mehndi is likely to join the Congress and contest the Assembly elections in Delhi in November this year.

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Sources said senior Congress leadership had almost approved the popular Punjabi singer’s induction into the party. The final decision would be taken by party general secretary Rahul Gandhi soon. Phone calls and text messages sent to Mehndi for his comment remained unanswered.

Mehndi is said to be very close to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit; he had composed the theme song for the Commonwealth Games 2010 on special request from Dikshit “in just 2-3 days”. He is a regular visitor to the CM’s residence and office. Dikshit too goes with her family every time Mehndi performs in Delhi.

A senior Congress leader said Mehndi would contest from “a Sikh-dominated constituency”. Sikhs have a sizeable population in several constituencies in west, south and east Delhi, including Rajouri Garden, Hari Nagar, Tilak Nagar, Jangpura and Gandhi Nagar.

Sources said the Congress was especially worried because of the winning performance of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) in the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Managing Committee elections earlier this year. SAD (Badal) is BJP’s key ally in Punjab and Delhi and had contested municipal and Assembly elections with its support in the past.

“A well-known Sikh celebrity face will certainly give us an edge over the Opposition,” a senior Congress leader said.

Names sent to Gandhi for inclusion in the party also include Dr VK Monga, former BJP worker and chairman of public health committee in Municipal Corporation of Delhi, MLAs Asif Mohammad Khan and Ram Singh Netaji and former MLA Ramvir Singh Bidhuri.


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